With the conclusion of the labour dispute between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and [Canadian union] UNIFOR, the Chamber of Marine Commerce is calling for a full and fast resumption of Seaway operations to get traffic moving and restore the significant economic activity that is made possible by Seaway infrastructure, which is also a critical conduit for cross border trade in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region.
“We are pleased that this interruption in vital Seaway traffic has come to an end, and we can focus once more on meeting the needs of consumers around the world,” noted Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC). “The entire marine shipping industry will now get straight back to work to get things moving again as the one of the most reliable, efficient, and sustainable modes for transporting commodities”.
Burrows added: “I want to personally thank organizations including associations from all aspects of marine shipping in North America: from producers and shippers of commodities, to ports, to ship owners and our coalition partners — the “Seaway Strike Coalition” — for coming together to assert the impact of this disruption.”
Overall, this strike, which took place during one of the busiest times of the year for the Seaway, is expected to have resulted in:
• The loss of up to $100 million per day in economic activity across Canada and the U.S.
• Risking the continued employment of approximately 67,000 people directly or indirectly employed by activity through the Seaway in Canada and the U.S.
• Stalling the movement of key cargoes including grain that feeds the world, salt that ensures safety on roads during winter, iron ore for steelmaking and auto manufacture, and construction materials for housing and infrastructure.
Such supply chain disruption, as noted, ultimately leads to increased costs to consumers at a time when inflation is already hurting people.
“It is deplorable that a service as vital as the Seaway could be brought to a halt in this way — the Seaway stoppage was extremely harmful for supply chains, the economy, and our quality of life,” said Burrows. “It should now be clear to everyone how critical the Seaway is to the well-being of businesses and consumers. For our part, we look forward to immediate resumption of Seaway operations now that the strike is over, and look forward to cooperation in that regard.”